Why Association Career Centers are More Important than Ever!

By David Butler • November 3, 2021

The world has changed tremendously in just the last few years alone. As the digital age marches on, people are not only becoming acclimated to but also looking for seamless technological integration in every aspect of their lives. Considering the immediacy of smartphone apps like Amazon Prime along with the proliferation of job board apps, it’s becoming apparent that the same mentality of instant gratification has transcended to even job-seekers, not just shoppers. And, as the global pandemic revealed to all of us, remote work is here to stay, which has further necessitated intuitive career centers. Savvy associations have taken notice of this change in the times, and this pattern of behavior, and are leveraging technology to create an integrated association career center that makes their user experience as easy as possible. A major resulting benefit for associations is the ability to funnel career center traffic into a non-dues revenue (NDR) cycle.


Association career center technology continues to evolve and improve the user experience, and as a result, they are more accurately targeting qualified candidates and matching them with the right employers. Since recent events over the last year-and-a-half have reshaped online recruitment dynamics, they, for the first time in recent years, have changed the job marketplace to actually become candidate-driven instead of employer-driven. This evolving paradigm means that associations need to reconsider the importance of career centers if they haven’t already. ​​For associations with an existing career center and job board, the work isn’t “done.” Rather, associations should be looking for ways and partners to help them elevate and improve upon their association career center and job board through content, promotion and user experience, for both job seekers and employers or admins.


What You’re Missing Without a Career Center

Some associations might be asking, “Why should we bother with launching a career center?” The interesting reality, and telling factor, is that for many, the association career center is the second or third most visited of their web pages, after their home page. But, if there’s no career center, that means there is valuable traffic not being tapped into. 

So the next question might be, “If we had a career center, how can we leverage it for non-dues revenue?” Non-dues revenue is the natural by-product of the platform that systemically puts the labor demand (employers) on a level playing field with the labor supply (qualified candidates). Job aggregators like Indeed and CareerBuilder have started to get far more competition for traffic from niche job boards — this is where the association career center fits in.  In fact, many association career centers or job boards are starting to see significant month-over-month growth in traffic. That means that whether you are a professional society or a trade association, you naturally offer a value proposition for workforce development in your industry, plain and simple. Without question, associations should take a proactive approach and funnel these valuable job seekers into their own career center module to maximize revenue.


It’s Not Just About Generating NDR

An association career center can do much more than drive NDR. Its role can also help shape an association’s key initiatives such as learning, events, professional development and programming. Associations should view career centers more as an investment in their industry instead of simply a job board. With the amount of flexibility in business models available to organizations, they can get started with a site with very little upfront cost or overhead.


How To Start a Career Center for Your Website

Today, there are really only a few options for deploying an association career center. One option is to build it yourself, where you have complete control of your operation, to include look and feel. However, you are then saddled with huge start-up costs, not to mention that maintaining and updating technology can be troublesome and costly.  Another option could be to outpost for an aggregator, which would eliminate the costs. However, you then lose ownership of your data and you end up giving a for-profit company direct access to your key audience, as well as potential revenue opportunities.  Lastly, a third option, and a very common practice for associations and societies, is to partner with a provider that gives you the best of both worlds: choice and flexibility. With a provider, you have the ability to own your data and contacts and are provided the tools to maximize opportunities for engagement and revenue.


Give Your Career Center an Advantage

Associations that have leveraged technology and already integrated an association career center are staying competitive and relevant. These associations are also experiencing increased NDR and, in turn, have streamlined their own onboarding processes. As your association looks to the future and considers ways to remain profitable, you can be sure that your competitors have already begun implementing career centers and are reaping the rewards.



With over 50 years of experience devoted to helping associations in over 80 industries, Naylor can help you attract highly-qualified prospects and advance your members’ careers when they need it the most, all while growing your non-dues revenue. Naylor associations grow and better engage their workforce through online recruitment and career development solutions with:

  • Choice and Flexibility with regards to Association Technology stacks
  • Robust Data Analytics 
  • Unparalleled Account Management
  • Sales and Marketing Support



Ready to get your career center kickstarted? Our association experts are here to help.  Request a Meeting